DEA announces drug trafficking charges against former Mexico Defense Secretary

Retired Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos was arrested Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport

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Salvador Cienfuegos
Former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos. Oct. 2016
(RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: October 16, 2020 - 5:18pm

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The Drug Enforcement Agency announced charges on Friday against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos over allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering.

The retired general was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Associated Press reported.

Charges later made public on Friday alleged that Cienfuegos accepted bribes from drug cartels in exchange for allowing them to ship massive quantities of cocaine into the U.S. 

Cienfuegos was Mexico’s top military official during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018.

A senior Mexican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to give details of the case, told the wire service that Cienfuegos was arrested when he arrived at the Los Angeles airport with his family. His family members were released and he was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center.

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